Norfolk Island Regional Council

Eulogy - Basil Noel Vercoe - 1943-2018

Friday, March 23, 2018


Brian Noel Vercoe or better known to us all on Norfolk as Basil was born in Te Puke New Zealandon 9th April 1943 he was 74 and only weeks away from his 75th birthday

Basil was the only son of Donald and Iris Vercoe, his only sister Lynette predeceased him in 1987.The Vercoe Name is well known in TE Puke due to his ancestors early settlement in the area andtheir integration and acceptance by the Maori people. His relatives and friends, in particular hismate “Carcass” (they loved their nicknames) in Te Puke sent through an emotional but amusingmemoir of Basil's early adult years and how they occupied there time – most of which I can't referto here but nicknames, place names and activities were highlighted – particularly a favouritemeeting spot they christened “Tickle belly Alley” I 'll leave you to ponder on that one. (See BrianO'Connor if you would like a full copy) -They expressed their great sadness at his passing and howhe will be missed, a wake in memory of Basil is being held at the TE Puke Citizens Club at 4pmthis afternoon.

Basil enjoyed life on their family farm and he used to related how he had to milk cows beforecatching his horse to ride to school. He said he clearly remembered his horse spooked at a largedust cloud on the road which eventually turned into a large stock transporter vehicle – the first hehad seen and certainly the first his horse had – he commented that he hated horses ever since. Basilwas later to go to one of NZ best boarding schools at Mt Albert Grammer in Auckland where hespent five years – Basil travelled extensively for work and sport gaining experience in both histrade as a carpenter/joiner and in particular as a accomplished clay target shooter, (which Andrewwill comment on shortly). Basil also had the dubious honour of being the only golfer on record tohit a ball out of bounds on every hole at the golf course – if you play golf you will understand thismust have been extraordinary, but he also played good golf, on one occasion winning the LordHowe Island Open. 

His nickname at golf was “Bent Arm” due to his unusual swing. He was also akeen Rugby Union player and was a member of a number of clubs in NZ. He had a good eye fordetail both at work and sports, was good at maths and was blessed with a photographic memory.Together with his good mate Ken Salt he organised numerous inter club and hotel competitions inDarts and pool - Basil had a kind heart and would assist charities and members of the communitywhenever he could and it was not uncommon for his right hand man of 7years, Brentt Jones to learnthat the job they were doing was no pay especially common on weekends so long as it did notinterrupt his sports, this apparently stems from his early years in NZ where generally you helpedout on weekends free of charge, if I recall correctly it was also practised here however he alwayskept a close eye on his pennies – was never one to waste his money – Basil came to this islandnearly fifty years ago and met up with many friends from NZ - Nobby and Gumboot -Boc and manyothers – he felt at home here, he made friends easily, he connected with us and shared our islandervalues – he became godfather to many of our children - he helped build many of Norfolk's maininfrastructures. Basil was a man of habit and did not vary much his weekly routine – he hadnicknames for special people and his tools also had names so Brentt knew exactly what to fetch andcarry for him, a task he performed frequently as Basil's health deteriorated – he loved gossip butwould not spread any – his views on politics were brief however his favourite saying was “Theyknew the government was going backwards so they turned the clocks back!” he was described as aclosed book, not sharing his inner feelings – he loved his family and was especially proud of hisdaughter Susie, he was deeply saddened when he lost his beloved wife Eunice several years ago. – Ihave known Baz for nearly fifty years I will miss him as I am sure a lot of you will – to end mymessage I will finish be quoting from his NZ eulogy – Goodbye Basil, farewell and God bless youand may you be at peace


Basil was the heart and soul of the Norfolk Island gun club. His role as president and club champion ran for an unequalled 30 years.

Basil was an excellent ambassador for NI Clay Target Association and the sport in general.  He has competed in   Japan, Scotland, Samoa, Canada,   Fiji,   New Zealand,   New Caledonia  and Australia.  He was far and away the most successful clay target shooter that Norfolk has ever had.

If I was going to list all of his achievements it would take hours and hours, you would need a semi trailer to hold all of his medals and awards.

We think that the story that most reflects Basils skills, happened at the world Champs at Christ church New Zealand, when he shot 462 targets in a row and finished 5th in the World.

 Before he walked out to shoot, Bas was told that he was driving the team home, so that the other members could drink while they watched the shoot off.  When the shooting finished Basil promptly disappeared, he was finally located hidden in the corner of the bar drinking like a 3 phase pump.

Basil was instrumental in the development of shooting in the pacific region. His idea to Donate traps to Fiji and Nuie ,  allowed Clay Target shooting to be included in the south pacific games for the first time.  He regularly competed with the Pacific’s best and held his own every time.  He was one of Oceana’s top shooters.

He loved the culture of the South Pacific Games and he loved his own version of the Parkia Haka. Which was always supported by his proud and ever-present sponsor VB.  

There is not a single member of our club that doesn’t owe him for training and support.

He was always happy to help others learn and enjoy his sport.

Bas was dearly loved by every one of us at the club, and we are going to miss you so much mate.

See ya Bas.  Pull………. Bang………….. Arh Shit.

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Judith Dunn Group visits Norfolk Island

Friday, August 25, 2017

It was wonderful to welcome Historian Judith Dunn to the Island again this week escorting members of the Royal Australian Historical Society on her Norfolk Island tour.  Judith is known to many on Norfolk having led numerous RAHS groups engaging with many in the local community and especially our own Historical Society.

This year was no exception as Judith gave a very well received presentation on corrugated iron to the Norfolk Island Historical Society. This meeting also offered the opportunity for our local and RAHS members to meet and exchange stories, ideas and historical connections. Another opportunity for local exchange also occurred during a fish fry hosted by the Lions Club, organised by Judith’s husband Greg, a long term Lions member.

Tours the group have enjoyed included visiting the Norfolk Island Museums and also a special Government House tour. The group were especially appreciative of visiting Government House and thank the Administrator and Maurge Jowett for arranging this. Other tours enjoyed by the group have included History in the Making, Cyclorama, Pitcairn Settlers Village and the Trial of the Fifteen.  

Jannise and all the team at the Norfolk Island Travel Centre wished Judith and her RAHS group well at the end of a fabulous week immersing themselves in the amazing history of our Island. We look forward to welcoming Judith back to Norfolk next year and hope many in her group may also decide to return for another week on beautiful Norfolk Island.

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